Lynk & Co, the number one: “Making electric cars is not enough to be sustainable”

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Lynk & Co was born in 2016 with the aim of doing something different, i.e. not focusing only on the car but on the concept of mobility. The brand is owned by the Geely Group – which also owns Volvo – and therefore, in addition to the main office in China, it has another one in Sweden.

Currently it produces only one car, the 01, which shares the mechanical base with the XC 40. But if it is sold in the traditional way on the Chinese market, everything changes in the Old Continent.

Of course, the classic purchase is possible, but the most innovative formula is that of the on-demand subscription. A kind of Netflix and in fact that’s how Lynk & Co was defined when it announced its arrival in Europe. To better understand how it works, we talked about it with CEO Alain Visser.

How does the Lynk & Co rental formula work?
«The car costs 500 euros per month, all included, you can enter and exit the rental without any restrictions. There are no surprises, all services are included. Choosing it is very simple. The set-up is full optional, you just have to decide if you want it blue or black, full hybrid or plug-in ».

How did this idea come about?
“For many decades the auto industry has worked with the same business model. For a long time it was a very static industry. But there is a global trend that people prefer to have experiences rather than own things. We want to bring this trend into the good old auto industry. So when Lynk & Co was born we took on very different profiles compared to those usually found in the automotive sector. Half are women and 80% come from different sectors, including fashion and retail ».

And was it useful?
“Absolutely. We have decided to do without dealerships because they are boring places; I have yet to meet a family who wakes up on Sunday morning and decides to spend time in a car showroom. We preferred to create clubs, completely different places where people can come together to do other things. They are places open to everyone because we want to be inclusive, not exclusive.

Tell us more about what these clubs are
«They are places where live music events, DJ sets, exhibitions and more are organized. There is only one car inside, everything else is a space dedicated to events, catering and entertainment. We want to create an experience around the car, rather than selling it ».

Okay, but then the cars somehow have to get to the end user. How is it going?
«Well, in the meantime ours is an excellent car, but we don’t talk too much about it, because everyone does it a lot. Each brand claims to have the best car, but we prefer to let others judge. In January 2021 we went online with reservations, we had the target of collecting 9,000 and instead we exceeded 25,000, of which 5,000 in Italy which is the second market after Holland. And for us it was surprising because we didn’t do any kind of advertising or event. All these people signed without even seeing the car, for us it is a beautiful mystery ».

What is the profile of your customers?
“At first we thought that our target was the Millennials, but then we realized that they don’t like to be defined like that and therefore we decided not to focus on age but on attitude. Speaking of these 25,000 first customers, for the most part they are people who live in metropolises and have an average age of 35. By the standards of the auto industry it is very low ».

Is that why you offer the possibility to sub-rent the car?
«All the cars on the planet are on average only used 4% of the time. This is madness. We want to increase this percentage, making these cars more sustainable, giving them the opportunity to share them. The more the car is shared, the more you save and it is important to underline that Lynk & Co does not keep even a cent ».

And what do you think of the comparison with Netflix?
«Even if we also sell experiences and not just the fruition, I like the comparison with Netflix, it is positive and helps to define the brand immediately. If you are Tesla, you are simply the first electric car: very clear and very strong. So if we’re the first car to use as Netlix, that’s fine by me. And speaking of Tesla, let me tell you something ».

You are welcome
“All the manufacturers say they are sustainable, but that’s nonsense. Now everyone is trying to sell electric cars, but that’s not enough to be sustainable. And if Tesla hadn’t existed that started selling electric cars ten years ago, probably all the other manufacturers would still be selling only models with the combustion engine. The auto industry is very hypocritical and for this reason we tried to do something different with our sharing formulas ».

So you are not interested in the electric?
“We now have the plug-in hybrid and I think it is currently the best solution. The world is not yet ready for electricity, there is a lack of infrastructure. In the future we will also have a 100% electric model, but our range will never include more than three vehicles. We are also interested in micro-mobility, we will start selling some vehicles in our clubs and we are also looking for the best way to include these vehicles in the car rental contract ».

Lynk & Co, Jesper Rosca 2021

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